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Empty Stocking talent a success

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This year's Empty Stocking Talent program was a huge success, raising $13,390 for needy children.

The talent show took place Wednesday, Dec. 11 at the Wadena-Deer Creek Middle/High School commons. Pastor Nate Loer, from Immanuel Lutheran church, began the program with an invocation. A variety of singers, bands, choirs, guitarists and pianists performed at the show, which aimed to raise funds to purchase toys and clothing for children in need at Christmas.

The talent this year included Mayor Wayne Wolden performing a duet with Kim Harrington. Several Wadena-Deer Creek students also performed at the talent program.

The show, which lasted three hours Wednesday night, was broadcast over local radio station KWAD. Listeners were urged to call in pledges or bring them to the event. Donations were also accepted at the Wadena Pioneer Journal office.

Abby's Bakery donated 16 dozen cookies for the program. Coffee and juice were also provided. Volunteers answered phones, took pledges and kept the audience apprised of the running total. As each change to the total was made, the audience broke out into applause.

Donations varied from $10 to $2,000. Empty Stocking Fund co-chairs Bette Johnson and Lisa Schmidt spoke on air about how Empty Stocking works and where the money goes.

"Every cent raised going right back into the Empty Stocking fund to buy toys and clothing for kids. There are no administrative costs," Johnson said.

Donations of money, new clothing and toys are being accepted. Donations can be dropped off at the Wadena Pioneer Journal office, 314 S. Jefferson in Wadena.

Empty Stocking has been operating for 87 years, since 1926. Employees at the Wadena Pioneer Journal volunteer their time to make this program happen year after year. Every year, referrals from area churches, schools and social services pour into the Pioneer Journal office, where Empty Stocking is currently housed. A large store room of clothing and toys fills some of the needs of children who may otherwise not receive presents for Christmas. Anything not found in the store room is purchased at local businesses with the help of many volunteers. Boxes of food, clothing and toys are packed and are delivered to families in need. Wadena families pick up their boxes at the Pioneer Journal offices.